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Zoomlion Company Limited and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on Thursday May 18 commissioned the Zoompak Achimota Waste Transfer Station to assist the transfer of the about 3000 tonnes of waste daily generated in the capital from collection points to their final deposit sites.
The 7.5 million dollar project, a private sector initiative between Zoomlion and the Compak Group, is the first of its kind in Africa.
Dr Joseph Siaw Agyapong, the President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and Chief Executive Officer of Zoomlion, stated that with the facility the Greater Accra Region now had the full complement of waste management infrastructure to manage waste effectively.
He said, at present, the capital had about 50 contractors and 800 informal waste contractors who struggle with transporting waste to the various landfill and treatment sites.
Mr Agyapong, therefore, expressed optimism that Waste Transfer Station would ease the associated difficulties of waste transport.
Dr Agyapong, however, urged the government to be keen on ensuring compliance with sanitation regulations to make the effort to rid Accra of filth a concerted one.
Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, the mayor of Accra, stated that the facility was timely as the assembly, in tune with the President’s vision, was surging with plans to make the capital the cleanest in Africa.
He said the AMA had developed a number of headline actions to be embarked on to set the stage for the effective pursuit of the Clean Accra agenda, at the top of which was aggressive waste prevention or reduction.
He explained that the huge cost of managing waste puts enormous pressure on the public treasury as a significant proportion of the AMA’s budget is allocated to refuse management.
“We can alter the balance if we can all revise our attitudes to using waste prevention methods and approaches in our day-to-day affairs,” he said.
“Every little effort at preventing, reducing, or recycling waste helps in mitigating the situation.”
The mayor said he was happy that the station would reduce total waste collection and transportation, cost and time.
“They are essentially temporary waste collection sites designed to receive waste from the capacity collection vehicles to be consolidated or compacted for transfer to deposit sites, including landfills and recycle facilities using high volume vehicles,” Mr Sowah explained.
He said the waste transfer stations were, therefore, crucial points in the resolve towards a clean Accra as they were widely accepted as inevitable in total solid waste management.
Mr Adjei Sowah said this had cleared the way for them to proceed with their next line of action: “to systemically close and evacuate all unauthorised dumpsites in Accra”.
He, therefore, advised all operators of such sites to take steps to shut them down immediately to avoid prosecution and cautioned all tricycle operators to also take steps to license and formalise their operations to avoid seizure and prosecution.
The Member of Parliament for Okaikoi North, Mr Fuseini Issah, expounding the economic value of waste, commended the initiative to set up the facility and expressed the hope that it would provide jobs for his constituents.